Authority and Entitlement

When did we become a culture that thinks so highly of our (individual) selves that we no longer respect those who are in authority?This has been bugging me lately.

When did we become a culture that thinks so highly of our (individual) selves that we no longer respect those who are in authority?

I have seen it getting worse for years.

There is always someone who doesn’t think they have to wait in the pick-up line at school, despite the fact that the principal has asked that parent’s don’t drive around those in front of them so that accidents can be avoided.

There is always someone who doesn’t think they have to use the left lane on the interstate as a passing lane only.

There is always someone who doesn’t think that the answer they were given by one person is good enough so they have to go find someone else and see if they can force them to give the “right” answer.

I read somewhere on the inter webs that Mark Twain once said, “Don’t go around saying that the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Whether or not he actually said it, it is true. We don’t “deserve” anything. Why do we think we are owed something? Why do we think we are above what those placed in authority have said? Why do we think if we push hard enough, or attempt enough end runs we can evade what the authorities have deemed important?

The results of this kind of mind-set are children who don’t respect authority – elders, teachers, police, etc. – and why is that?

Because they are mirroring the behavior that their parents have set forth.

A child is failing a class? It must be the teacher’s fault, so the parents yell at the teacher. And when they don’t get the answer they want, they yell at the principal. And when that doesn’t work, they head on over to the superintendent or a school board member.

It needs to stop. Romans 13:1-7 says:

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Do people in areas of leadership screw up? Sometimes! Do they take advantage of their power? Sometimes! But that doesn’t change the fact that we are supposed to respect and honor those who are in authority over us. We will answer for our transgressions. Those in authority will answer for theirs.

Our job is not to usurp their authority and try to get our way when we don’t like how it affects us. Our job is to be respectful, not rebellious.

It is time to start looking at our behavior and the example we are setting or our children and make sure that we aren’t walking around thinking we are the exception to every rule, we are entitled to what we want, and we don’t have to listen to those in authority. And those of us in authority have to start being responsible and trustworthy. Because unless something changes, the path we are headed down will lead us to a world that none of us want to live in.

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